Proceedings Buffalo Workshop December  2001

http://www.mekarn.org/procbuf/wanapat.htm

 

Swamp buffalo rumen ecology and its manipulation

M Wanapat 

Department of Animal Science

Faculty of Agriculture

Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen 40002, Thailand
metha@kku1.kku.ac.th

http://web.kku.ac.th/~metha 

Abstract

Rumen ecology has been playing an important role in fermentation process and providing end-products for ruminants. These studies were carried out to investigate on rumen factors namely pH, NH3-N, microorganisms in cattle and swamp buffaloes raised on traditional system. Furthermore, study on diurnal pattern of rumen fermentation and effect of rumen digesta transfer from buffalo to cattle was conducted. Based on these studies, it was found that buffalo and cattle raised under similar condition exhibited a diverse rumen ecology. Diurnal fermentation patterns in both cattle and buffaloes were revealed. It was found that rumen NH3-N appeared to be a limiting factor. Rumen digesta transfer from buffalo to cattle was achievable. Monitoring of digesta transfer up to 14 days resulted in normal rumen ecology as compared to that of original buffalo. However, further research should be undertaken in these regards in order to improve rumen ecology especially buffalo-based rumen. 

Key words : Swamp buffalo, rumen ecology, manipulation, digesta transfer

Introduction

The rumen has been well recognized as an essential fermentation vat that is capable of preparing end-products particularly volatile fatty acids (VFAs) and microbial proteins as major energy and protein for the ruminant host. The more efficient the rumen is the better the fermentation end-products being synthesized. In recent years, there has bee increasing research directed to rumen ecology and rumen manipulation (Orskov and Flint, 1989; Martin, 1998; Weimer, 1998). However, most of these papers have dealt with ruminants raised in temperate areas and fed on good-quality roughages and with high levels of concentrate supplementation. However in the tropics, most ruminants have been fed on low-quality roughages, agricultural crop-residues, industrial by-products which basically contained high levels of ligno-cellulosic materials, a low level of fermentable carbohydrate and a low level of good-quality protein. In addition, long dry seasons, a prevailing harsh environment, especially high temperature, low soil fertility and lees feeds available throughout the year, all influence rumen fermentation. Recently, Wanapat (2000) reported on rumen fermentation to increase the efficient use of local feed resources and productivity of ruminants in the topics.

Traditionally, swamp buffaloes (Bubalus bubalis) have been kept by small-holder farmers in Southeast Asia, as multi-purpose animals. According to De Haan et al (no date) there are 148 million buffaloes in the world and 99.9 % are raised in the developing countries. The present numbers of swamp buffaloes in Thailand are about 2 million heads and more than 90% are in the Northeast which are serving as a vital component in the mixed farming systems along with cattle and/or small ruminants. It has previously been reported that when cattle and buffalo were kept under similar conditions, buffalo utilize feed more efficiently with the digestibility of feeds being typically 2-3 percentage units higher (Wanapat 1989; Wanapat et al 1994; Kennedy and Hogan 1994). Nitrogen utilization in swamp buffalo was found more efficient than that in Malaysian cattle (Devendra 1985). The superiority is particularly noticeable in situations where the feed supply is of low quantity and/or quality. The reasons for the superior digestive capacity of buffalo over cattle have not been fully elucidated. However it is likely that much of the superiority may be explained by differences in the nature of rumen microbial population which would affect the type of fermentation occurring and the end-products resulting from fermentation. Thus, any variations between cattle and buffalo in the proportions and numbers of ruminal bacteria, protozoa and fungi might contribute to the explanation of differences in digestive capability due to fermentation end-products available for absorption and utilization by ruminants.

The objectives of these experiments were to study on the rumen ecology of buffalo and cattle raised on traditional system and to identify the rumen fermentation pattern in buffalo and cattle fed on untreated and urea-treated rice straw. 

Materials and methods

Experiment 1

The rumen samples for subsequent study of microbial populations were obtained from animals kept under traditional village conditions in the Northeast of Thailand. The experiment was conducted in September to April when swamp buffalo and crossbred cattle (Brahman x Native) were both grazing seasonally on available native grasses, rice stubble and rice straw. No concentrates were given to the animals at this time. A total of 40 animals which were being kept under similar conditions were identified, brought from a local marker and slaughtered. The animals (20 cattle and 20 buffaloes) were of both sexes and were between 2-4 years of age.

Immediately, after slaughtering, samples of fresh digesta (500g) were taken from the rumen of each animal. Rumen digesta were squeezed through 4 layers of cheesecloth to ensure a sample which contained microbial population from both the liquid and solid phases. The subsequent rumen fluid was immediately fixed with 10% formalin solution ( Galyean 1989). The total direct count of bacteria, protozoa and fungal zoospores were made using the methods of Galyean (1989) based on the use of a haemacytometer (Boeco) and total numbers were studied for bacterial and protozoal shapes under microscope. Differentiation of rumen fungal zoospores from small protozoa was based on characteristics having flagellae while protozoa had ciliates around them. Rumen fluid was diluted using autoclaved distilled water (121oC for 15 minutes) as a medium, by 100, 10 , and 10 times for bacteria, protozoa and fungal zoospores counting using 10x40, 10x10 and 10x40 ocular x objective of haemacytometer, respectively. For further identifying different shapes of bacteria rumen fluid was made at 10 times and counted at 10x40 ocular x objective of haemacytometer. Scanning electron microscopy was used for further determinations of bacteria, protozoa and fungal zoospores. Samples were fixed in buffered glutaraldehyde dehydrated in a graduated ethanol series and dried in a criteria-point dryer. They were mounted on aluminum stubs and sputter coated with gold prior to viewing. The data were subjected to statistical analysis using students t- test. 

Experiment 2
Digestion trial

Six rumen-fistulated buffaloes and cattle (3 each) were randomly assigned according to a 3 x 3 Latin square design to receive three roughage sources and the treatments were as follows:

All animals received the roughage on ad libitum basis and in addition rice bran was supplemented at 0.5% of body weight. Digestion trial lasted for 21 days each. Feed intakes were measured during the first two weeks and followed by a 24-h rumen fluid sampling for every hour. Samples were measured for pH immediately and prepared for later analyses of NH3-N, VFAs, total viable counts of cellulolytic, proteolytic and amylolytic bacteria. During the last 5 days the animals were put onto metabolism crates when 90% of previous feed intakes were given and for total collection of feed, feces and urine.

Rumen fluid was collected at 0, 4 h-post feeding and measured for pH immediately and samples were prepared for later analysis of NH3-N (Bromner and Keeney 1965), volatile fatty acids (VFAs) using HPLC (Samuel et al 1997), total viable cellulolytic, proteolytic and amylolytic bacteria were measured using roll tube technique (Hungate 1969). Digestibilities of nutrients were calculated. All data were subjected to ANOVA and treatment means comparisons were conducted by Duncans New Multiple Range Test using Proc GLM (SAS 1985) 

Digesta transfer study

All rumen fistulated buffaloes and cattle (3 each) were fed with three kinds of roughage treatments using a 3 x 3 Latin square design: untreated rice straw (URS), urea-treated (5%) rice straw (UTRS) and URS and UTRS (1:1) (MX). They were fed for two weeks and then rumen fluid samples were collected at 0 and 4 h post feeding. Measurements of pH were taken immediately while other rumen fluid samples were treated and prepared for later analyses of NH3-N (Bromner and Keeney 1965), volatile fatty acids (VFAs) using HPLC as the above. Total viable cellulolytic, proteolytic and amylolytic bacteria were counted using roll tube technique (Hungate 1969).

After the initial sampling period (3 weeks), the rumen digesta from each buffalo fed on each respective roughage were transferred to each respective cattle for each roughage after rumen digesta of the cattle were removed completely. These transfer were done as quickly as possible to avoid longer exposion of digesta to the air. After complete transfers, all lids of fistulae were closed. Samplings of rumen fluid were take at 0, 4 h post feeding, before transfer, and 7 and 14 days after rumen digesta transfer to be measured for rumen pH, NH3-N, VFAs and total viable counts of cellulolytic, proteolytic and amylolytic bacteria using standard methods as indicated above. All data were subjected to ANOVA and treatment means were compared using Duncans New Multiple Range Test (Proc. GLM) (SAS 1985). 

Results and Discussion:

Experiment 1

The methods used proved successful at estimating the numbers of micro-organisms in the samples. Data on the numbers of bacteria, protozoa and fungal zoospores and shown in Table 1.  

Table 1. Numbers of bacteria, protozoa and fungal zoospores in the rumen of cattle and buffaloes raised under traditional system in the Northeast of Thailand.

Item

Cattle

Buffaloes

Rumen pH

6.58 0.12

6.60 0.07

Microbial population, total direct count

Bacteria, x 10-8 cells/ ml

1.36 0.14

1.61 0.12

Coccus, x 10-5 cells/ml

1.07 0.70

1.28 0.23

Oval*

<

>

Rod*

<

>

Protozoa, x 10-5 cells/ml

3.82 0.88

2.15 0.41

Holotrich

2.52 0.70

1.80 0.36

Entodiniomorph

1.30 0.34a

0.35 0.13b

Fungal zoospore, x 10-6 cells/ml

3.78 0.78a

7.30 0.93b

a,b in the same row with different superscripts differ (P<0.05)
* More or less as compared between cattle and swamp bufffaloes

Based on this experiment, it was found that the rumen pH was similar for both species, but significant differences were found in the numbers of micro-organisms. There was a trend for a higher population of bacteria, a lower population of protozoa and significantly more fungal zoospores in the ruminal fluid of buffaloes as compared with those of cattle.

The results obtained show microbial counts which are broadly in agreement with other studies reported by other workers for cattle and buffalo (Langar et al 1968). Wattanachant et al (1990) found higher total bacterial count and cellulolytic bacteria in swamp buffalo than those in cattle. Interestingly, in the present study where animals were subjected to similar feeding, there were strong trends for a higher bacteria and lower protozoa counts but significantly more fungal zoospore counts in buffaloes than those in cattle. As clearly known, rumen bacteria are far most important among protozoa and fungi, but moreover, their close association and balances in forming optimal rumen ecology are paramount in providing useful fermentation end-products for the ruminants.

The presence and role of fungi in the rumen have until recently been a contentious issue. In earlier years, Orpin (1975), Akin et al (1983), Akin and Benner (1988) and Ho and Abdullah (1999) reported the findings of rumen fungi and their roles in degrading ligno-cellulosic materials which stimulated further studies to be conducted in these regards. Studies by Ho et al (1988) indicated the presence of fungi in buffalo and in cattle and it was found that the rate and method of colonization by rumen fungi in swamp buffalo and native cattle of Malaysia were similar when fed on guinea grass. In addition, Ho and Barr (1995) offered detailed information regarding classification of rumen fungi from Malaysia. The present study clearly illustrates the presence of fungi in the rumen digesta of both cattle and buffaloes. It is interesting that, on similar diets, fungal zoospores in swamp buffalo were found twice as many as those found in cattle. Using the method of Ho and Barr (1995), in swamp buffaloes the fungi predominantly found were Anaeromyces sp. having sporangia with acuminate apex. Previous workers ( Williams and Coleman 1992) have suggested that there is a negative relationship between the number of protozoa and fungi in ruminal fluid. This is supported by the present work where protozoal numbers were lower in buffalo and fungal zoospores were higher than in cattle. As Williams and Coleman (1992) found that rumen protozoa predated on fungal zoospores therefore the lower numbers of protozoa present, the higher fungal zoospores would be. Rumen fungi would possibly act to control protozoal population as well.

Figures 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 illustrate pictures of rumen bacteria attachment, protozoa distribution, fungal sporangia, rumen fungus, Anaeromyces sp., having sporangium with acuminate apex and rhizoid forming appressorium in swamp buffaloes.

 


Figure 1. Attachment of rumen bacteria on rice straw of swamp buffalo, Bar = 16 mm

Figure 2. Rumen protozoa of cattle fed rice straw, Bar = 16 mm


Figure 3. Rumen protozoa, Entodiniomorph sp. of swamp buffalo, Bar = 16 mm


Figure 4. Sporangia of rumen fungi of swamp buffalo burst out from the surface of rice straw, Bar = 16 mm


Figure 5. Rumen fungus of swamp buffalo, Anaeromyces sp. With acuminate apex, Bar = 16 mm


Figure 6.
Rumen fungal rhizoid with penetrated appressorium of swamp buffaloes, Bar = 16 mm

 

Figure 7. Rumen fungal sporangium with flagellae, Bar = 16 mm

 Based on this study, interesting findings revealed differences in rumen baterial, protozoal population and fungal zoospore counts in swamp buffaloes and cattle raised under similar conditions. Since rumen microorganisms have impact on fermentation pattern and fermentation end-products particularly volatile fatty acids and NH3-N, it therefore could be speculated that higher bacteria, lower protozoa and higher fungal zoospores in swamp buffaloes would result in greater fermentation efficiency and productivity than in cattle. However, further studies in this regard as well as classification of rumen microbes of swamp buffaloes should be looked at more closely and warrant immediate research undertakings. 

Experiment 2
The diurnal patterns during 24 h of rumen fermentation characteristics in beef cattle and swamp buffaloes fed on untreated and urea-treated rice straw.

In both cattle and buffaloes, rumen pH and temperature were maintained constant and the values were 6.5-6.7; 38-39 C, respectively. However, VFA production patterns were fluctuating as well as C2 concentration while C3 and C4 were similar which indicated an active role of rumen microbes and on-going fiber fermentation of cellulolytic bacteria. It was also found that rumen NH3-N was very consistent and relatively low (<5 mg/100ml) throughout the period. However, all of the fermentation aspects except rumen pH and temperature were notably enhanced by feeding urea-treated rice straw. Rumen fermentation end-products were significantly different as a result of feeding different types of roughages. As shown in table 2 that rumen NH3-N, C2, C4 were increased as a result of using urea-treated rice straw and were also higher in buffalo than in cattle. Ratios of (C2+C4)/C3 and TVFA/NH3-N were also narrower. Based on this study, low rumen NH3-N could be a limiting factor on rumen fermentation and would ultimately affect on rumen ecology.

In ruminants fed on low-quality roughages, critical rumen NH3-N levels for microbial activities were found a 5-20 mg/100ml (Boniface et al 1986; Perdok and Leng 1989). While Chanthai et al (1987) demonstrated that rumen NH3-N in cattle and buffaloes fed on untreated rice straw were less than 2 mg/100ml and were increased to 9 mg/100ml with urea-treated rice straw. Perdok and Leng (1989) further showed that higher level of rumen NH3-N (15-30 mg/100ml) improved intake and digestibility. Increasing rumen NH3-N level up to 30 mg/100ml significantly decreased C2+C4/C3, increasing rumen fungal zoospores as well as increasing microbial protein synthesis (17-47%) (Kanjanapruthipong and Leng 1998). In a most recent experiment in swamp buffaloes fed on untreated rice straw, Wanapat and Pimpa (1999) also found similar results that rumen NH3-N levels of 13.6-34.4 mg/100 ml improved rumen fermentation by increasing digestibility and intake of straw. As rumen NH3-N increased, rumen bacteria and protozoa, as well as urinary purines were also increased. It was suggested that optimum rumen NH3-N level would be higher than 15 mg/100ml. Nguyen Van Thu and Preston (1999) also found rumen NH3-N (5-6 mg/100ml) of swamp buffaloes fed on rice straw or grass and were significantly increased to 8-18 mg/dl by adding urea-treated rice straw, urea-molasses cake and Sesbania leaf. The increases of rumen bacteria, protozoal population as well as DMI were also concomitantly found with increases in rumen.

Effect of buffalo rumen digesta transfer 

Table 2. Chemical compositions of experimental feeds.

Item

DM

OM

CP

NDF

ADF

Ash

 

(%)

% of dry matter

Rice straw (URS)

92.8

88.6

3.4

76.9

48.9

11.4

Urea- treated rice straw (UTRS)

55.2

88.1

7.5

68.3

42.2

11.9

URS + UTRS (1:1)

79.0

88.7

5.3

73.4

46.4

11.3

Extracted rice bran

90.2

84.7

14.2

12.4

4.5

15.4

DM = dry matter, OM = organic matter, CP = crude protein, NDF = neutral detergent fiber, ADF = acid detergent fiber

Among diets, urea-treated rice straw (UTRS) digestibility was highest (P<.05) and digestibility of nutrients particularly those of organic matter and crude protein were higher in buffalo than in cattle (Table 3). Several factors have been claimed to attribute to these values.

Table 3. The apparent digestibility of feeds and the effect of digesta transfer on digestibility in cattle and swamp buffaloes.

 

URS

UTRS

MX

SEM

 

C

B

C

B

C

B

 

Apparent digestibility, %

DM

50.4a

54.4a

63.7b

63.1b

55.8ab

57.9ab

1.3

OM

51.9a

57.3ab

64.3b

68.4b

61.9b

62.2b

1.2

CP

35.4a

33.7a

49.7ab

55.9b

43.4ab

41.1ab

2.5

NDF

35.4a

36.5a

50.6b

51.2b

46.6ab

47.8ab

2.9

ADF

45.1

41.6

52.4

55.3

47.7

47.8

5.0

a,b values on the same row with different superscripts differ (p<0.05)
DM = dry matter, OM = organic matter, CP = crude protein, NDF = neutral detergent fiber, ADF = acid detergent fiber
URS = rice straw, UTRS = urea-treated rice straw, MX = URS + UTRS (1:1)
C = cattle, B = buffaloes
SEM = standard error of the mean

Intakes of roughages were highest in both cattle and buffaloes fed on UTRS in terms of kg/d, % BW, g/kgW.75. In general, intakes of these roughages before and after buffalo digesta transfer were similar at 7 and 14 days after transfer (Table 4).

Table 4.  Feed intake in cattle and swamp buffaloes before and 7 and 14 days after transfer of digesta from buffaloes to cattle

 

Before

After  7 d

After 14 d

SEM

 

C

B

C

B

C

B

 

Total DM intake, kg/d

      URS

4.1

5.5

4.5

5.5

4.0

5.3

0.6

      UTRS

5.1

6.5

5.3

5.7

5.3

5.5

0.5

      MX

5.2

5.6

5.7

5.9

6.0

5.8

0.5

% BW

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

      URS

1.2

1.4

1.2

1.2

1.4

1.3

0.1

      UTRS

1.8

1.9

1.9

2.1

2.0

1.7

0.3

      MX

1.3

1.5

1.7

1.5

1.4

1.9

0.1

g/kgW0.75

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

      URS

72.8

81.5

73.5

83.3

77.2

84.2

8.0

      UTRS

86.1

102

87.5

92.5

97.5

92.6

10.3

      MX

93.9

84.2

93.4

88.3

96.7

84.2

3.2

URS = rice straw, UTRS = urea-treated rice straw, MX = URS + UTRS (1:1)
C = cattle, B = buffaloes
SEM = standard error of the mean

Rumen pH in all treatments and animals were similar and were in normal range of rumen ecology (pH 6.2-6.7). Digesta transfer did not show any effects (Table 5).  

Table 5. Effect of digesta transfer on rumen pH and NH3-N in cattle and swamp buffaloes.

 

Before

After 7 d

After 14 d

SEM

 

C

B

C

B

C

B

 

Rumen pH

0 h post feeding

URS

6.4

6.3

6.6

6.7

6.5

6.6

0.06

UTRS

6.4

6.1

6.4

6.3

6.6

6.6

0.08

MX

6.2

6.4

6.4

6.8

6.5

6.4

0.08

4 h post feeding

URS

6.5

6.3

6.3

6.3

6.5

6.7

0.05

UTRS

6.4

6.2

6.1

6.1

6.5

6.6

0.07

MX

6.6

6.5

6.2

6.3

6.5

6.5

0.06

NH3-N, mg%

0 h post feeding

URS

3.1a

5.4ab

3.8a

6.5b

5.8b

6.6b

0.6

UTRS

11.9ab

12.8ab

8.9a

11.7ab

15.1b

13.9a

0.9

MX

11.6ab

9.5ab

7.9a

8.9ab

7.9a

13.5b

0.9

4 h post feeding

URS

6.4

6.3

6.9

7.4

5.1

6.5

0.3

UTRS

13.0ab

10.9ab

15.2b

10.0ab

9.6a

13.9b

0.9

MX

9.8

8.9

8.4

7.5

7.1

7.5

0.4

a,b values on the same row with different superscripts differ (p<0.05)
URS = rice straw, UTRS = urea-treated rice straw, MX = URS + UTRS (1:1)
C = cattle, B = buffaloes
SEM = standard error of the mean

Rumen NH3-N concentrations were lowest in animals fed on untreated rice straw (URS) and highest in UTRS fed groups. These NH3-N values remained low in URS fed group after buffalo digesta transfer of 7 and 14 d, respectively and were lower than those reported as optimum (20-30 mg%) (Boniface et al 1989; Perdok and Leng 1989; Wanapat and Pimpa 1999). Values in cattle and buffalo fed on UTRS and mixture of URS+UTRS (MX) were found higher and were maintained after digesta transfer for 14 d. Values after 4 h-post feeding were slightly increased in some treatments (Table 5). 

Total volatile fatty acids (TVFAs) at 0 h post-feeding were highest in UTRS and in buffaloes, while at 4 h-post feeding in group fed on UTRS and MX were increased. After 7 and 14 d transfer, TVFAs of cattle were comparable to those of buffaloes. This could be an attributing factor from digesta transfer. For C2, C3 and C4 all values were similar from, before and after 7, 14 d digesta transfer for both cattle and buffaloes. It is noticeable that C3 concentrations were relatively high in all fed groups (Table 6, 7, 8, 9).  

Table 6. Effect of digesta transfer on total volatile fatty acid (TVFA) in cattle and swamp buffaloes

 

Before

After 7 d

After 14 d

SEM

 

C

B

C

B

C

B

 

TVFA, mM

0 h post feeding

       URS

85.9

85.7

86.7

78.4

102

83.2

14.2

       UTRS

94.6

106

112

116

125

101

11.6

       MX

91.5

104.2

110.9

99.5

99.6

85.8

9.1

4 h post feeding

       URS

75.7

80.5

100

94.2

112

85.1

10.5

       UTRS

104

120

117

119

104

115

12.2

       MX

118

107

109

100

104

96.5

10.0

URS = rice straw, UTRS = urea-treated rice straw, MX = URS + UTRS (1:1)
C = cattle, B = buffaloes
SEM = standard error of the mean

 

Table 7. Effect of digesta transfer on acetic acid concentration in cattle and swamp buffaloes

 

Before

After 7 d

After 14 d

SEM

 

C

B

C

B

C

B

 

Acetic acid (C2), mM

0 h post feeding

URS

67.2

64.6

66.2

68.4

69.3

65.7

5.4

UTRS

70.8b

68.8ab

64.2ab

67.4ab

62.9a

70.8b

2.7

MX

65.3ab

67.9ab

70.4a

68.6ab

62.4b

68.8ab

3.0

4 h post feeding

URS

68.7

69.2

67.1

68.8

66.1

69.7

3.8

UTRS

70.5

68.9

66.6

67.6

66.8

69.5

3.7

MX

68.7

66.9

68.7

72.7

66.6

69.2

3.6

a,b values on the same row with different superscripts differ (p<0.05)
URS = rice straw, UTRS = urea-treated rice straw, MX = URS + UTRS (1:1)
C = cattle, B = buffaloes
SEM = standard error of the mean

 

Table 8. Effect of digesta transfer on propionic acid concentration in cattle and swamp buffaloes

 

Before

After 7 d

After 14 d

SEM

 

C

B

C

B

C

B

 

Propionic acid (C3), mM

0 h post feeding

URS

26.2

29.8

23.9

24.2

22.4

24.6

4.3

UTRS

24.0

27.6

29.3

27.8

25.4

23.4

3.5

MX

26.9

23.2

24.8

24.6

29.5

25.8

3.5

4 h post feeding

URS

25.2

26.8

26.5

24.4

28.0

26.3

3.9

UTRS

21.9

25.7

28.1

26.6

26.3

24.1

2.9

MX

23.5

26.4

24.4

26.6

31.1

28.8

4.3

URS = rice straw, UTRS = urea-treated rice straw, MX = URS + UTRS (1:1)
C = cattle, B = buffaloes
SEM = standard error of the mean


Table 9.
Effect of digesta transfer on butyric acid concentration in cattle and swamp buffaloes

 

Before

After 7 d

After 14 d

SEM

 

C

B

C

B

C

B

 

Butyric acid (C4), mM

0 h post feeding

URS

4.7

5.6

9.8

7.3

8.0

9.6

2.6

UTRS

5.2a

6.9ab

6.9ab

4.8a

11.7b

6.2a

2.1

MX

7.9

8.9

8.1

10.1

8.1

5.4

2.0

4 h post feeding

URS

6.0

7.3

6.3

6.8

6.0

7.3

1.7

UTRS

7.5

5.3

6.1

5.8

6.9

8.0

1.6

MX

7.8

6.6

6.9

4.7

5.7

5.9

2.0

a,b values on the same row with different superscripts differ (p<0.05URS = rice straw, UTRS = urea-treated rice straw, MX = URS + UTRS (1:1)
C = cattle, B = buffaloes
SEM = standard error of the mean

 
Effect of digesta transfer on rumen microoganisms

Total viable bacteria counts were found to be similar among treatments and sampling times. Cellulolytic, proteolytic and amylolytic bacterial counts of cattle were increased after 7, 14 d digesta transfer. The most pronounced values were obtained in buffaloes fed on UTRS and particularly at 7 d after digesta transfer. This could mean that after removal of digesta, buffalo rumen could still have functionally higher rumen turn over rate and while in cattle the digesta transfer could be sustainable as seen on 14 d after transfer (Table 10, 11, 12, 13).

Other means of manipulating the rumen could be used (e.g. feeding of condensed tannins). Condensed tannins contained in cassava hay has been shown to improve rumen microorganisms and fermentation and to enhance rumen by-pass of the dietary protein (Wanapat 2000; Wanapat et al 1999, 2000a,b)

Table 10. Effect of digesta transfer on total viable bacteria in cattle and swamp buffaloes.

 

Before

After 7 d

After 14 d

SEM

 

C

B

C

B

C

B

 

Total viable bacteria, 1011CFU/g

0 h post feeding

URS

2.1a

2.9ab

2.4a

4.6ab

3.4ab

5.7b

0.9

UTRS

2.3a

3.0ab

3.4ab

3.8ab

4.2ab

4.8b

0.7

MX

2.6a

2.8a

5.0ab

2.4a

3.4ab

5.8b

0.8

4 h post feeding

URS

1.2a

2.8ab

4.5bc

4.8bc

5.6c

5.1c

0.6

UTRS

2.8a

3.2a

5.9b

5.2ab

4.7ab

5.0ab

0.8

MX

3.6

3.6

4.6

4.8

3.5

5.3

1.4

a,b,c values on the same row with different superscripts differ (p<0.05)
URS = rice straw, UTRS = urea-treated rice straw, MX = URS + UTRS (1:1)
C = cattle, B = buffaloes
SEM = standard error of the mean

  

Table 11. Effect of digesta transfer on cellulolytic bacteria in cattle and swamp buffaloes.

 

Before

After 7 d

After 14 d

SEM

 

C

B

C

B

C

B

 

Cellulolytic bacteria, 1010CFU/g

0 h post feeding

URS

1.8a

2.8ab

3.1ab

4.2b

2.2a

2.5ab

0.6

UTRS

3.4

5.9

2.7

2.7

5.1

5.7

1.9

MX

1.9a

4.1b

2.6ab

3.0ab

4.5b

2.3a

0.6

4 h post feeding

URS

2.9a

3.5ab

3.4ab

5.2b

3.1a

3.3ab

0.6

UTRS

4.5a

10.5b

5.4ab

7.1ab

5.1ab

4.5a

1.4

MX

2.5

5.2

3.2

6.5

3.4

2.5

1.0

a,b values on the same row with different superscripts differ (p<0.05)
URS = rice straw, UTRS = urea-treated rice straw, MX = URS + UTRS (1:1)
C = cattle, B = buffaloes
SEM = standard error of the mean

  

Table 12. Effect of digesta transfer on proteolytic bacteria in cattle and swamp buffaloes.

 

Before

After 7 d

After 14 d

SEM

 

C

B

C

B

C

B

 

Proteolytic bacteria, 107CFU/g

0 h post feeding

URS

1.5a

2.7a

2.6a

7.1b

4.6ab

2.5a

0.6

UTRS

2.7a

4.2ab

5.2ab

8.2b

5.2ab

5.9ab

1.1

MX

3.8

4.2

3.6

3.9

3.6

3.7

0.9

4 h post feeding

URS

2.8

2.3

3.4

3.2

5.0

2.5

1.4

UTRS

2.4

5.7

5.2

8.8

6.6

3.5

1.8

MX

4.4

2.5

4.6

3.2

2.8

2.4

0.6

a,b values on the same row with different superscripts differ (p<0.05)
URS = rice straw, UTRS = urea-treated rice straw, MX = URS + UTRS (1:1)
C = cattle, B = buffaloes
SEM = standard error of the mean

 

Table 13. Effect of digesta transfer on amylolytic bacteria in cattle and swamp buffaloes.

 

Before

After 7 d

After 14 d

SEM

 

C

B

C

B

C

B

 

Amylolytic bacteria, 107CFU/g

0 h post feeding

URS

2.6a

3.0ab

4.0b

2.5a

3.7ab

4.0b

0.9

UTRS

3.5

3.6

4.3

5.3

5.4

3.9

0.8

MX

3.2ab

2.9a

3.9ab

2.7a

5.8b

3.3ab

0.7

4 h post feeding

URS

3.1

3.2

3.2

2.7

4.4

3.7

0.7

UTRS

3.5

5.3

4.9

4.9

3.8

5.6

0.9

MX

4.3ab

5.9ab

4.9ab

7.3b

4.0ab

3.2a

1.0

a,b values on the same row with different superscripts differ (p<0.05)URS = rice straw, UTRS = urea-treated rice straw, MX = URS + UTRS (1:1)
C = cattle, B = buffaloes
SEM = standard error of the mean

 

Conclusions and recommendations

Experiment 1

Cattle and buffaloes raised under traditional raising system could result in having different rumen microorganisms. Counts of bacteria and fungal zoospores were higher and protozoa were lower in the rumen of buffaloes than in cattle. These could attribute to higher ability to utilize feeds and hence higher digestibility of feed in buffaloes.

Experiment 2

Rumen NH3-N appeared to be the limiting factor on untreated straw. UTRS resulted in higher nutritive value than URS and MX. The transfer of rumen digesta transfer from buffalo to cattle indicated that intake, digestibility and rumen ecological parameters criteria from the buffaloes could be sustained in cattle at least for 14 days. 

Acknowledgements

The author wishes to express gratitude to the National Center for Bio-Engineering and Biotechnology of Thailand for the financial support of this research. Special thanks to SIDA-SAREC for providing an opportunity for the author to participate in the MEKARN workshop at the National Institute of Animal Husbandry in Hanoi, Vietnam.

 

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